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New Mexico State Department
of Education

300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

PRESS RELEASE

February 6, 2003

Government, Business, Education and Community Leaders Call for Legislators to Fund Education First


(Santa Fe, NM)-Governmental, business, educational and community leaders today called for Governor Bill Richardson and legislators to fund education first during Education First Day at the state Capitol. The event was sponsored by New Mexico First, the New Mexico Business Roundtable for Educational Excellence and the Teacher Education Accountability Council (TEAC).

Speaking on behalf of education were Tony Trujillo, chairman of New Mexico First, Michael J. Davis, state superintendent of Public Instruction, former Governor Garrey Carruthers, chairman of the business roundtable, Elizabeth Jenkins, acting executive director of the Commission on Higher Education, and TEAC representative Peter Winograd, with the University of New Mexico.

"The legislative and executive branches should fund education first and prioritize the rest of New Mexico's needs after. We urge our legislators and our Governor to make New Mexico's vision of a strong and vibrant public school system a reality this year," said Winograd.

"Specific far-reaching solutions will take much political willpower and personal sacrifice. But we must remember that the success of our youth ensures the economic viability of our state. If we are to commit ourselves to economic opportunity and equity in our state for all, our public schools must be first in our hearts, our minds and our pocketbooks. Children are our most important resource," he said, quoting the consensus of the 22nd New Mexico First Town Hall held in Taos in 1999.

The leaders urged a focus on student success, quality teaching, early childhood education, early literacy and reading, reasonable accountability and adequate resources.

State Superintendent Davis said, "Our message is one of hope and optimism for the young people of New Mexico. Obviously, the issues surrounding education can be tough and contentious. But it is equally obvious that New Mexicans care deeply about their children and their children's future."